Ad watchdog clears Ford, KFC, Snickers and Lipton as complaints focus on safety, sexism and innuendo

“Pussy” based innuendo, KFC’s bro code, Jo Pesci’s tantrum, mountain tumbles, high heels and underwater parties have all been cleared by the Advertising Standards Board after a series of complaints from the public.

Among a string of ads to receive complaints was KFC’s “Say it with chicken” ad targeting young men. The ad for the Black Edition Kentucky Burger includes a scene where a man is featured sleeping on the floor outside a door, apparently so his friend isn’t disturbed while he has sex. The same ad also features a man apologising for bringing his girlfriend to a poker night.

Among the complaints:

“The Steubenville rape case in the USA last week has had many commentators from all forms of media portraying the current US ‘rape culture’ that seems to be spreading.

“I object to this advertisement because it only shows women as sex objects or as idiots that men need to apologize for.

“It’s a highly misogynistic ad, about something which doesn’t need to be.

“I felt gobsmacked and as though I’d been transported back to the 1950’s and 1960’s in Australia.

“If it was supposed to be ‘tongue in cheek’ it failed stupendously. It was just offensive.

“I don’t understand how anyone at KFC somehow thought this advertisement was funny. Unless it was written by a 75 yr old male CEO.”

But KFC owner Yum Restaurants argued that the ad, created by Ogilvy Sydney, was really about helping men express their emotions. It said:

“The Advertisement’s primary purpose is to engage and build relevancy with young male adults who are the target audience for The Black Edition Kentucky Burger. To do so requires light hearted, tongue-in-cheek entertainment and humor.

“The scenarios are light hearted portrayals of mates struggling to express their real emotions to each other. Throughout the Advertisement, various males are faced with scenarios where they are required to express their emotions to their friends and choose to do so via the Black Edition Kentucky Burger.”

Clearing the ad, the ASB said: “The Board noted that the target audience for the product and the advertisement is young male adults and is designed to be light-hearted and humorous so that it connects with the target market. The Board agreed that the relevant audience would recognise the scenarios and the advertisement would have relevance for the young males it is targeting.”

Another complaint examined by the ASB was one for Schweppes featuring people tumbling down a mountainside to music. The complaint stated: “These people should literally break their respective necks and end up as a bag of human jelly doing these stunts. Of course they are computer generated but look very realistic. While this may look clever it is only a matter of time before the younger generation try this stunt for themselves.”

But the ASB said of the ad, by GPY&R Melbourne: “The Board noted the expression of joy on the man’s face prior to him launching himself down the side of the snow covered mountain and considered that most members of the community would interpret his reaction and the way he is presented as unlikely and fictitious.”

Another complaint about safety the ASB rejected was an ad by DDB Sydney for Lipton Iced Tea Virgin Cocktails, featuring an underwater pool party. The complaint stated: “My concern is that suggestible young children may view this advert and think it is possible to live and breathe under water.”

The ASB stated: “The Board considered that the overall tone of the advertisement is clearly of a fantasy nature and that its unrealistic nature is not likely to be interpreted as an encouragement to try to breathe under water.”

A Ford ad, featuring a young woman who wears one shoe with a heel and one trainer to drive with also drew safety complaints.

One said: “I find the message to young female drivers extremely inappropriate. Prioritising fashion over driver / road safety is disgusting.”

But Ford argued: “Tiffany is a real Ford owner and describes her own real story which illustrates the benefit of the shoe stowage compartment under the front passenger seat. The complainant has incorrectly assumed that the vehicle depicted in the Fiesta TVC has a manual transmission and incorrectly states that Tiffany is wearing “her ‘wedge’ on the clutch foot. Tiffany’s vehicle has automatic transmission and therefore only requires the use of her right foot.”

The ASB ruled: “The Board noted the advertiser’s response that the vehicle used in the advertisement is an automatic and therefore the actor in the advertisement only wore a running shoe on her right foot as her left foot is not required in order to drive the vehicle.

Also drawing a complaint was Snickers’ long running commercial featuring US actor Joe Pesci with the tagline “You’re not you when you’re hungry”.

The complainant said: “This ad is aggressive toward females and has no place to be viewed in this country.”

The ASB ruled: “The Board considered that the advertisement was exaggerated, clearly intended to be humorous and did not present or portray violence that is unjustifiable.”

Meanwhile, a home shopping ad for the Schticky lint roller, featuring innuendo around the word “pussy” was also cleared by the ASB.


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